Pensacola International Airport has reached an agreement with Uber that will allow the popular app’s drivers to pick up passengers from a designated area at the airport.
Previously, Uber drivers could drop customers off, but were technically barred from picking up riders at the airport, which is owned by the City of Pensacola.
Pickups will begin immediately, Uber officials said Thursday. Passengers will be able meet their Uber car and driver curbside at the designated pick-up zone, which will be marked with signage. Riders will be charged $2.50 per pick-up in addition to the cost of the ride.
“Thank you to the Pensacola International Airport and the City of Pensacola for their collaboration on this agreement. We are thrilled to be part of the Northwest Florida community,” said Uber General Manager Tom Maguire. “This agreement will ensure residents and visitors can count on safe and affordable transportation options in the Pensacola area.”
Uber, which bills itself as a “transportation network company,” connects a network of drivers who use their personal vehicles with customers seeking a ride. Critics, including many in the taxi industry, have charged that Uber is essentially an illegal taxicab company, operating in violation of local ordinances across the country.
“Uber continues to skirt current regulations and I hope that our city will soon put some common sense ordinances in place that include TNCs such as Lyft and Uber,” said Karen Locklear, general manager of Yellow Cab of Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach and Destin. “The city’s inaction continues to put longstanding Pensacola businesses at a disadvantage.”
In light of the service’s popularity, many lawmakers have said existing taxi ordinances are outdated and have welcomed Uber and similar “ridesharing” services.
“Ridesharing is here to stay in Northwest Florida, and I couldn’t be more excited,” said State Rep. Clay Ingram, who also serves as president of the Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce. “Adding more transportation options to our airport will benefit residents and visitors alike. It is an added convenience for those traveling to our community and certainly an added economic benefit.”
Calling the deal a “long-term partnership,” Uber officials said the agreement will provide a service that visitors and residents have been requesting at the airport. A similar agreement was reached with Destin-Ft. Walton Beach Airport last month, the company said.